It turned out to be a quiet deadline in the end, the biggest moves either occurring earlier in the day or in the weeks prior. Reports had indicated that the Clippers were dangling Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and potentially a first-round pick, looking for help on the wings.
While Carmelo Anthony talks had fizzled out recently, they were apparently still sniffing around guys like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Nikola Mirotic, and Courtney Lee. However, nothing ended up materializing, and smaller deals involving Wes Johnson didn’t pan out either.
The only Clippers target that ended up being traded was P.J. Tucker, who the Raptors snagged for Jared Sullinger and two 2nd-rounders. It should be noted that the Clippers don’t have any 2nd-rounders till 2019, while Toronto sent theirs for the ‘17 and ‘18 drafts — so they didn’t have the ability to top the Raptors offer (doubly so when you consider that Sullinger is expiring while WeJo has another two years on his deal).
So other teams weren’t swayed by what little the Clippers had, and L.A.’s front office team of Lawrence Frank, Dave Wohl, and Doc Rivers weren’t willing to overpay for someone that might not have ended up being an improvement after all. So for the first time in a long time the Clippers are rolling with the same squad into the second half of the season.
Doc couldn't make a move this year because of moves he's botched in the past, but it's kind of funny to see fans who want it both ways— Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) February 23, 2017
Is that a bad thing? Not at all; while many of us were eager to see some player moment and were hoping for a quality small forward (*cough* not Jeff Green *cough*), it’s better that the Clippers stayed pat than go for broke and overplay their hand. As is, they have a quality roster and stand to gain a huge post-deadline bump of their own with Chris Paul’s return imminent (although it appears unlikely to happen tonight at Golden State).
Now the focus shifts to the buyout market, where they’ll be competing with other contenders like Cleveland and Houston. That markets seems to be fairly robust this year, with Deron Williams, Matt Barnes, Terrence Jones, Andrew Bogut, and Marcelo Huertas all available (and a few other veterans should be coming off the books soon too).
Biggest development IMO is that the Rockets opened 2 roster spots and a ton of cap room. Them and CLE/GSW are buyout players. Clips hurting— Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) February 23, 2017
If Barnes gets offered 3M from Houston for just a few months, hard to see him coming to LA for a few hundred thousand https://t.co/XYXBDsvAil— Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) February 23, 2017
Unfortunately, the Rockets’ cap-cutting moves at the deadline make them a much more attractive option for veterans — they can offer up to $3 million, an order of magnitude higher than anything the Clippers can. So L.A. might be locked into this 15-man roster for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed they can actually have all 15 available come April and May.